Positive thinking alone will not get you anywhere


In present times anyone browsing the net would find thousands of motivational speakers' videos about how positive thinking will change your life. The net and book stores are full of books and articles about it as well. Counsellors will tell you to have faith and leave it to the universe to work things out for you. To wait and the right thing will happen to you! There are many who ask people to only think positive and they teach people about "law of attraction" and attracting all good things you may want into your life by just wanting it. It's very uplifting to hear all that. And very good popularity is there to be gained, and much revenue to be earned by saying and selling these concepts. And while some of all this is undoubtedly true as well, unfortunately only thinking positive thoughts alone will not get you anywhere, unless you do a lot of other things as well! And this article isn't aimed at discrediting those motivational speakers or counsellors, but augmenting their concept with some more practical advice learnt from life - the school of hard knocks as they say. 

These other things include : hard work; tenacity; determination; passion; strong emotions; a bit of stubbornness; a bit of impudence; a bit of unabashedness bordering on to almost being shameless at times; good timing and luck; recognition of the power of luck; favourable circumstances; lots of planning; balanced level of self confidence; ability to learn from errors and apply the learning; continuously adjusting one's method of approach after each failure; having 3 to 4 layers of backup plans and alternatives; resilience; readiness to accept defeat at least temporarily; willingness to cooperate, collaborate and compromise with others, including people you may not normally like ; deep analytical skills; farsightedness; creativity; gratitude towards the Creator or the unseen powers of the universe ( in whatever form you may wish to call that power); recognition of the presence of this power and that power's intervention in our lives - something immensely needed beyond only positive thinking; sharing attitude; generosity; belief in karma; and intense prayer or ability to communicate with those unseen powers through meditation, asking for those wishes to be granted, beyond just thinking positively about them. In addition to all this, you would need a very open mind. A mind ready to adapt, change and cope with reinvention of yourself. Each one of these points would warrant an essay by itself, and can be individually elaborated in later articles. 

But, for now, while listing requirements for success, beyond positive thinking alone, the item that really brings desires to fruition, in addition to positive thinking is a significant degree of negative thinking as well!! You must never expect your plans to work right away, no matter how much faith you have in God and confidence in yourself. If it does, you have to think of yourself as being exceptionally blessed and fortunate. Never expect your very first idea about how to get something, to become fruitful. Or for that matter do not expect success from your second or third or fourth idea or attempt. That is why you would need to have multiple layers of backup plans to support you, that you can resort to, after each failure. While you should be ready to never accept defeat, you must be ready to expect it. And multiple times too. 

You also need to have the wisdom to know how long you would pursue a goal and how much it is worth, in lieu of the time and vital energy of life that you are investing on the goal. You need to know how long to persist and when to change the approach and when to quit entirely. For sometimes, victory may have been waiting only a few more tries away, while sometimes, victory is never to be had. You have to know, using your instinct and logical evaluation and experience and observation of other people's experiences. Just because you are thinking positively and working really hard, it does not mean that all your goals and wants will materialise no matter how hard you want it. No, the universe will sometimes not conspire to take you to your desired goal irrespective of how much you throw your thought out. Thats the sad reality you must accept! Some things may never be possible, and may never come true and one need not feel downhearted as long as efforts were given, and that too, at least a little beyond what would be considered reasonable. You need to learn to make the most of what you have been given by the universe. But first in order to maximise the use of what you have, you must accept the limitations, before you find ways to stretch them. 

The trick is in resilience and determination to find happiness in alternatives. If a goal appears impossible to reach, look at what motivates you to reach for that goal, and then find a way to get to that higher motivation in some other way. For example, if you wish to be famous and in the media sector and you find yourself being rather lacking in acting skills, then though you may have dreamt of reaching fame as an actor, you may need to reach that fame through a different route, for example direction or story writing. You may have wished for fame through singing but may have to accept that you have a terrible voice that simply won't please anyone no matter what kind of singing you try. But then you could gain fame as a pianist or a guitarist or become a maestro with some unusual instrument. 

Beyond positive thinking, you need to have the ability to spot opportunities that pass along your way, and you have to have the hunger and desire for success, to reach out and grab those!!! Without the ability to spot a hidden opportunity in something that occurs or passes you by, all the positive thinking in the world will not work. 

Beyond positive thinking, and the negative thinking and expectation of multiple rounds of failure, perhaps the most important ingredient of success and reducing the number of failed endeavours, is foreseeing all the obstacles and thinking of countermeasures beforehand, which is what I had hinted at when stating the need for elaborate planning when listing some of the additional requirements. 

And finally, last of all, while many motivational speakers would say that there is nothing called luck and you can make your own luck, I would disagree and say that luck is very much there and is one of the greatest factors of success beyond your control and you may be shattered by luck or lifted up by it and there is little you can do. But the idea is not to be defeated by luck, but to ride it like a surfer rides the waves. To understand when luck is not being favourable, and to avoid doing too much at those times, but to have the senses to feel luck shifting like the wind and the tide and then grabbing the opportunity to ride the luck like a wave and gain spectacular success at those times instead of wasting valuable time and energy at the wrong time. 

So in conclusion, what I would advise my reader is to never sit still just thinking positive thoughts alone. Keep thinking, keep planning, keep sensing the time and striking from different angles when the time is right. And surely the boulder will crack before you. And if it doesn't, get another boulder that would serve your purpose even better! 

The author is an organizational growth and development consultant, a corporate trainer, motivational speaker, media personality with 21 years corporate work and leadership experience